Coming on the heels of the successes of faith-based films like “God’s Not Dead,” “Miracles From Heaven” and “Heaven Is For Real,” a new movie slated for release later this year will portray Jesus and his disciples like never before.
“Jesus VR — The Story of Christ” — which is set to release this upcoming Christmas — will tell the gospel story through an entirely different lens: virtual reality.
A collaboration between virtual-reality company VRWERX and Autumn Productions, the 90-minute film is being heralded as “the first-ever feature-length [virtual reality] movie.”
According to Variety, the film — which was captured in 360-degree 4K last October — will be available for purchase on a variety of platforms, including PlayStation VR and Google Cardboard, among others.
The team behind the project believes that virtual reality is an excellent and profound way to tell traditional biblical stories, with director and producer David Hansen heralding the coming experience.
“The viewers truly feel they are there with Jesus and his disciples,” Hansen said in a statement. “This is the most powerful story of all time and virtual reality is the perfect way to tell it.”
So, what, exactly, will be included in the film?
As an Autumn VR press release noted, the movie will allow viewers to be there “for the entirety of Jesus’s life and death, from his baptism to the Sermon on the Mount, and from the Last Supper to his crucifixion.”
The film’s announcement comes just weeks after reports emerged that director and producer Randall Wallace is working with actor and director Mel Gibson on a follow-up to 2004’s blockbuster success, “The Passion of the Christ.”
Interestingly, there are some intricate ties when it comes to the original team behind “The Passion” and those who have worked on the soon-to-release “Jesus VR — The Story of Christ.”
Enzo Sisti served as an executive producer on both projects, with Father William Fulco also serving as an adviser for both films. And the connections don’t end there, as “The Passion” and “Jesus VR” were coincidentally both filmed in Matera, Italy, according to the Guardian.
But while Jim Caviezel famously portrayed Jesus in the 2004 flick, actor Tim Fellingham will be tackling the role in the virtual reality film.
Considering the array of faith-based projects that have come from Hollywood of late as well as the emergence of affordable virtual reality products in an ever-changing technological landscape, it’s no surprise that producers are offering up a new lens through which to explore the gospel.
In fact, Hollywood more generally appears to be turning its attention toward virtual reality technologies in shaping its future storytelling.
A Wall Street Journal headline back in March boldly proclaimed, “Virtual-Reality Movies: Get Ready for the VR Revolution,” with the article stating that “VR is rewriting the script for Hollywood” and paving the way toward revolutionizing the way movies are consumed.
Further explaining the experience, the outlet noted that, contrary to one’s typical movie-going experience, virtual reality allows for the viewer to take more control, opening up a 360-degree opportunity to see any and all parts of the film’s environment.
It is unclear how “Jesus VR — The Story of Christ” will choose to depict various events in the life of Christ — especially the brutal aspects of crucifixion, but one thing is certain: The virtual reality experience is sure to offer a truly unique depiction of the scriptures that have, in many ways, shaped our culture.